By Nayeli Esquilin
Formally known as Lingua Ignota, Kristin Hayter has changed shape once again as “Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter” for her new album SAVED! Released in October 2023, through Perpetual Flame Ministries, this 46-minute album is loaded with 11 songs that feel like a sermon on a warped record in an abandoned church. In a recent Instagram post, Reverend Kristin described her new work as a bold, deranged and ugly internal apocalypse.
“I am asking the questions I do not have the answers to,” Hayter wrote. “About faith, healing and language.”
Unlike the older work from her Lingua Ignota project, Hayter wanted to start fresh with this new album. Blending gospel with some variation of Christian folk and baroque dynamics, SAVED! does shy away from the extreme metal and neoclassical dark wave used to convey rage in SINNER GET READY and CALIGULA. As a classically trained vocalist and pianist, Hayter’s vocals in this album are angelic as they are commanding. With religious themes throughout her work, Hayter hasn’t completely abandoned the aspects of her Lingua Ignota but instead focuses on each feeling religion, or devotion, can have on someone.
This album couldn’t have come at a more perfect time because it feels like the ambiance of October. Some of my top tracks are “I’M GETTING OUT WHILE I CAN,” “I WILL BE WITH YOU ALWAYS” and “HOW CAN I HEAR KEEP FROM SINGING.”
The album starts off with the track “I’M GETTING OUT WHILE I CAN.” The track is a warning for Judgement Day. The song is distorted as if the track is a worn-out record. Hayter’s hymns are accompanied by a rusted piano and acapella, which is interrupted by a voice speaking in tongues. This interruption is prevalent throughout this record and has a sickening quality as if it’s happening to you. This song feels like you’re experiencing a bout of religious hysteria, which is the main auditory occurrence throughout the album.
Next is “I WILL BE WITH YOU ALWAYS.” In this eerie track with the help of isolated harmonizing and more rusted piano, Hayter begs for release from the demon that is restraining her. The demon can be interpreted as evil entities or past mistakes and secrets, which is a common theme in Hayter’s work. Almost as if no matter how much we ask for forgiveness from a higher power, our demons will still eat away at us if we don’t find within ourselves to forgive.
The finale of the album, “HOW CAN I HEAR KEEP FROM SINGING”, is an intense end to this tale of purgatory. Hayter’s soft, tender vocals combined with soothing piano playing in the background are reminiscent of a religious lullaby. The lullaby is soon interrupted by a voice in the background crying and speaking in tongues as if they are being exorcised. Casting out all evil, the voice is finally free but gasping for air at the end. A cathartic release to the intense journey of the album.
I can only describe SAVED! as an album that chews you up and spits you back out in the best way. This is the perfect album for those who find interest in contemporary Christian music that hinges on the macabre. There is no other musician who’s doing this like Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter, and I can only hope she continues to captivate audiences with her avant-garde gospel.
Written by: Danielle De Lucia